F & S Deep Dive – “THE (Urge to) PURGE” Takes a Bloody Turn

thepurge_castinfo_joe_desktop_2880x900Episode Two “The Urge to Purge
Written by Nick Betancourt
Directed by David Von Ancken                                                      [All epsisode images courtesy Patti Perret/USA Network. The Purge]

After taking deep dives into Bates Motel, The Exorcist, and most recently Channel Zero (here at F&S and at SciFi4Me.com), I’m plunging into a weekly look at the symbolism, clues, and connective tissues in each episode of The Purge series on USA Network.

For a full recap of Purge episodes, check out Father Son Holy Gore! I agree with his assessment that this episode is a step up; the intensity, storytelling, and worldbuilding all develop in fascinating ways.

Now, on to the All American Carnage of The Purge – Episode Three, “The Urge to Purge”!

The Purge - Season 1
Miguel and Pete search for the Blue Bus of Death.

Plot Threads

*Miquel (Gabriel Chavarra) & Penelope Guerrero (Jessica Garza) -Good Leader Tavis (Fiona Dourif) manages to regain her hold on her flock, and Penelope is delivered to the next sacrifice stop. A group of garish, neon-coweled nuns put a sack over Penny, and toss her in their souped up Lance Camper.
Miguel earns the trust of Pete the Flop Cop (Dominic Fumusa);  in exchange for his newly won car, Miguel gets the location (and a ride) of the Blue Bus of Death.  Just one problem, though. Good Leader Tavis informs Miguel that Penelope was just delivered to “the nuns” who pointed him towards the BBoD!

* Jenna (Hannah Anderson) & Rick Betancourt (Colin Woodell) – Jenna breaks off the make out session with her Lila (Lili Simmons) to deliver some important news. She and Rick are expecting a baby.

Later, Jenna is summoned by Albert Stanton (Reed Diamond) to join Rick and himself in the study. After securing funding from Stanton,  his assistants dragg a bloody, bedraggled man into the room. The man begs for his life through a gag as Stanton accuses the him of stealing and reselling copper wiring from a Stanton construction sites. Always a gracious host, Albert hands Rick a pistol to kill the dishonest ex-employee. A stunned Rick declines (at Jenna’s insistence), Albert shoots the man. Afterwards, Jenna insists they pull out of the deal and Rick reluctantly agrees. He conveniently goes to find something for them to drink while Lila approaches Jenna.

*Jane Barbour (Amanda Warren) – Amid celebratory champagne, David Ryker (Billy Baldwin) interrupts the celebration at Ryker- Moore Equity with a scolding phone call with a tiny little congratulations at the end for her, Jane goes looking for Alison (Jessica Misel), Mark (Adam Stephenson) – and a good Wfi connection. Away from the safety of the 38th floor, Jane doesn’t find a good Wi-Fi connection – but hears noises that are not a couple enjoying themselves – but Alison braced over a prone Mark stabbing him repeatedly with a pair of scissors. “So, do you notify HR about my promotion or is that up to me?

*Sandwich Guy (Lee Tergesen) -To me, this was the most intriguing plot thread of the episode. Joe the Sandwich Guy stops the two Purgers he witnessed breaking into a home last episode, and shoots them dead before the terrified homeowner. Instead of harming the woman they wanted to rob, he says “Your house has been compromised. You’re not safe – Come with me.”

The Purge - Season 1
Good Leader Tavis bids farewell to another Purge Night sacrifice.

Notes on “The Urge to Purge”

*Pete the Cop gives us some specs on that sweet ’71 Chevelle SS – 502 cubic inch engine and 461 HP!

*We see some graffiti on a wall – “NFFA Must Be Stopped”.

*There are active revolutionary groups opposing the NFFA and The Purge.

*The British journalist who interviews Miguel mentions some real life predecessor of The Purge from the 19th Century “Scramble for Africa”. The exploitation of Congo under the direction of King Leopold, and the infamous Atlantic Slave Trade.

The Purge - Season 1
Neon Nuns on the Run.

*Braka said Jane’s assignment was third on her list, and wouldn’t exchange payment until  7 pm on the dot. When did Braka get payment for jobs 1 &2? Did they pay with an online currency transaction that went through until 7 pm?

*At least we know Alison is a self-starter who’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Unlike Jane, she doesn’t “arrange for someone to do your dirty work”.

*Like the Army of the 12 Monkeys, Purgers have let all the animals out of the zoo.

*Spied a mask at the Stanton party that could maybe be a Renaissance woman, but did not look like Lucrecia Borgia – which is too bad, since the popular legend of Lucretia would fit the Stanton family dynamics perfectly.

*Lila Stanton knows Jenna is pregnant (I guessed right about that). Albert Stanton would give up all his material wealth “for a grandchild.” Is Lila concerned at the end of the episode for Jenna, or plotting something involving the unborn child?

*Albert Stanton is a self-professed feminist – who doesn’t pay taxes.

*I keep coming back to Lila’s Lizzie Borden mask.  Which brings me back to the infamous rhyme commemorating Ms. Borden’s alleged murder of her parents.

*Whatever the Neon Nuns have in store for Penny, it promises to be beyond awful. They’re carrying a deluxe crossbow, a large knife with a serrated edge, a length of chain

The Purge - Season 1
At least the Paper Towel dispenser behind Pig Assassin Guy looks happy.

*We learn what the blissed-out cultists meant by “OMF Penny” in Episode One. Miguel and Penelope are an Original Martyr Family – survivors of the first Purge on Staten Island. Their flashback story ties the series to the fourth movie in the Purge series The First Purge (2018).

*The Purge Cult follows a “peace sign” route every year. Either they really believe their dogma, or have a great sense of irony.

*The “Devil Dog” term used by Miguel dates from the First World War.

*Both Miguel and Penelope are told “their parents would be proud” of their actions on Purge Night

* Pete, Rick, and Joe the Sandwich Guy offer three different ways of dealing with The Purge. Rick wants to succeed in without being a part of it – “this is the world we’re living in,” Pete’s bar offers a way station, “giving people a safe spot to think it over
Joe the Sandwich Guy apparently has taken a different message from the talk radio host he’s listening to. “Fear is the great thief … not everyone has the courage to rise up … to achieve their dreams.” He deals with the Purge by living his dream – not of killing, but for being the hero.

The Purge - Season 1
Joe the Sandwich Guy may be the most interesting character on The Purge.

Next week, how will our characcters “Release the Beast” in Episode Four?

Until then citizens, “Just remember all the good The Purge does.”

The Purge airs Tuesdays on USA at 10/9c.

More official images, information, and other goodies can be found here.

F & S Deep Dive – THE PURGE Urges Citizens to “Take What’s Yours”

 

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Episode Two “Take What’s Yours
Written by Thomas Kelly
Directed by Anthony Hemingway
[All epsisode images courtesy Patti Perret/USA Network. The Purge: Anarchy image courtesy The Purge Facebook page ]

After taking deep dives into Bates Motel, The Exorcist, and most recently Channel Zero (here at F&S and at SciFi4Me.com), I’m plunging into a weekly look at the symbolism, clues, and connective tissues of The Purge series on USA Network. The first chapter of this ten episode “TV event series” premieres September 4 on USA, with the first and last episodes simulcast on Syfy.

Now, on to the All American Carnage of Episode Two, “Take What’s Yours”.

The Purge - Season 1
Oh Alison, what did you see?

Plot Threads

*Miquel (Gabriel Chavarra) & Penelope Guerrero (Jessica Garza) – Miguel interrupts his search for his sister Penelope and the Blue Bus of Death to help a history teacher and insurance adjuster treat a gunshot victim at a minivan triage station. In return for his battlefield wound-finding expertise, the pair direct him to  “Pete the Flop Cop”. If anyone knows about the Blue Bus of Death, it’s him. Enroute to Pete’s, Miguel is trapped into competing in “Otis’s Autorama Annual Gauntlet” (bad thing), but survives the Worst Escape Room Ever and wins a sweet muscle car (good thing). He hits the road again in search of Penny, finding Pete the Flop Cop (Dominic Fumusa), but no answers about the Blue Bus of Death.

On said BBoD, Penny tries and fails to calm her fellow cultist Melissa (Emmanuelle Nadeau) before Good Leader Tavis (Fiona Dourif) selects Melissa as the next “volunteer”. This sends the poor girl into total meltdown mode. Penny asks to take Sister Melissa’s place, but can only watch in horror as two masked mend drag her friend, begging for her life, into the darkness.

The Purge - Season 1
Sure, she looks serene now, but Penny is in for a surprise.

* Jenna (Hannah Anderson) & Rick Betancourt (Colin Woodell) – Both try and fail to avoid awkward small talk with Lila (Lili Simmons). In separate encounters, Lila presents a comforting (“My dad will take care of you.”) and seductive face to Jenna (initiating a make out session by the pool), and a veiled blackmail threat to Rick (“My dad doesn’t know anything about you.”). Plot threads begin to intertwine – Miguel’s winning Gauntlet run is broadcast on TV screens in the Stanton’s ballroom.

*Jane Barbour (Amanda Warren) – On the 38th floor of Ryker Moore Equity, Alison snoops in Jane’s office and sees something on Jane’s laptop that freaks her out. Later, she not so-subtly asks Jane who’s on her “Purge List”. Jane snoops in her boss’s office in-between flashbacks of David Ryker’s  (Billy Baldwin) hiring her, harassing her, then passing Jane over for promotion in favor of Anya (Alyshia Ochse). She also recalls hiring Braka (AzMarie Livingston) for a Purge Night hit on somebody who is probably named David Ryker.

The Purge - Season 1
Wonder if David Ryker is actually in the building on Purge Night?

*Sandwich Guy (Lee Tergesen) – He may be credited as “Joe” (I think), but to me this masked man is now and always Sandwich Guy. Is he on a Purge Night to hurt or help? After preparing an all American white bread & bologna with French’s mustard sandwich, this masked man hits the streets. But en route to an address, he sees two men breaking into a house and stops. Is he going to prevent a crime, or participate in it?  Is he going to kill someone, or save them?

Notes on “Take What’s Yours”

*Lila’s Lizzie Borden mask may be a clue to her plans for Purge Night. Non-participation waiver or not, it would be interesting if she plans to deal with Mom and Dad as Lizzie allegedly handled hers.

*Lila, slithering around the Purge Party in her green sequined dress, reminds me of a snake sliding through the grass. Green is the color of envy – does she covet control over the Stanton fortune?

The Purge - Season 1
I can’t read the slogan below Otis’s Autorama sign on the right, & it bugs me.

*As the episode begins, the clock display is counting down from 11:54; looks like The Purge commenced five minutes earlier.

*Miguel’s commentary while he’s driving through the streets – and the audience watching the simulcast of his run through the Most Lethal Escape Room Ever – feel very “first person shooter-video gamey”, at least to me.

*At first I wondered if the mobile recue unit referring to Ray as a “Flop Cop” meant that he was, well, an actual cop. But this is a poker reference, not anything law enforcement related.

*The female member of the triage unit Miguel encounters says that they are protected on Purge Night because of “unwritten Purge law” and claims that human nature tends towards order. In the words of Henry Adams, “Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.”

The Purge - Season 1
Braka has no time for Jane’s pre-Purge Pity Party monologue.

*This week in Purge Product Placement – Alison uses an HP laptop.

*David Ryker reference to the “promise of America – opportunity for all” could be a tell that he buys into the idea of America as the “Land of Opportunity”. This concept is one of the founding ideals of America – although there’s debate as to it’s validity.

*This week at the Stanton party, Jenna tries a delectable NFFA-themed Parfait.

*Could Jenna be dealing with alcohol dependency issues (or possible expecting?) – she is sticking to seltzer water, and again mentions her upset stomach.

*Miguel’s prize for surviving the Gauntlet?  Looks like a  classic American Muscle car – a mint condition Chevy Chevelle.

*Miguel’s winning run through Otis’s Autorama “Otis’s Annual Purge Night Gauntlet” (7th annual) clocked in at about five minutes –  5:06:02.

The Purge - Season 1
Again, a shocking waste of prime Purge Night sponsor opportunities.

*Does Janes flashback occur before the NFFA comes to power? I can’t see how the America of the New Founding Fathers would consider saying “Merry Christmas” as a taboo. No more “War on Christmas” under their rule, I’m sure.

*I would be pleasantly surprised if Jane’s target wasn’t her boss David. The show could surprise us an make Janes target her rival Anya. But I’m probably wrong.

*Pete the Flop Cop must be a Marvel comics fan – the password to his lair is “Excelsior“.

*LOVED Braka telling Jane to  “save it for your shrink” in response to Jane’s self-pitying justifications for her decision. I was getting irritated with Jane’s “woe is me” justification story just before Braka said that.

*Melissa’s attackers wear the faces of our 37th and 42nd Presidents – Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton. They aren’t the first icons of American history featured in The Purge series (see below).

The Purge Anarchy FB
Presidents Lincoln and Washington – along with Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty – appeared in The Purge: Anarchy (2014).

*Otis (Lance E. Nichols) has his Purge Night racket – what about Good Leader Tavis (Fiona Dourif) ? Does she pay for those periwinkle blue robes & lovely flowers with “donations” that pay for  delivery of Purge Night victims?

Next week, Episode Three addresses the “The Urge to Purge”.

Until then citizens,  “Just remember all the good The Purge does.”

The Purge airs Tuesdays on USA at 10/9c.

More official images, information, and other goodies can be found here.

F & S Deep Dive – THE PURGE Event Series on USA Asks “WHAT IS AMERICA?”

thepurge_castinfo_joe_desktop_2880x900

 

 

 

Episode One “What Is America
Written by James DeMonaco
Directed by Anthony Hemingway
[All images courtesy Patti Perret/USA Network ]

After taking deep dives into Bates Motel, The Exorcist, and most recently Channel Zero (here at F&S and at SciFi4Me.com), I’m plunging into a weekly look at the symbolism, clues, and connective tissues of The Purge series on USA Network. The first chapter of this ten episode “TV event series” premieres September 4 on USA, with the first and last episodes simulcast on Syfy.

The Purge S1 E1 Jane with mom
Jane tells her Mom she loves her – but not her plans for Purge Night.

From a micro-budget 2013 home invasion thriller from Blumhouse Studios and writer/director James DeMonaco, The Purge series has grown into an interconnected universe of four movies. Each has been immensely profitable: The Purge grossed over $89 million dollars (US) on an estimated budget of three million. The Purge: Anarchy (2014), The Purge: Election Year (2016), and The First Purge (2018) followed in the original’s profitable footsteps to a total worldwide series total to date of over $454 million dollars (US).  Bucking the usual trend from sequels, each successive movie has both improved on the box office of it’s predecessor, and widened the scope of the five-minutes-into-the-future dystopian world of The Purge.

I’m going to go through the plot developments of each particular episode as I discuss the symbolism, references, and clues I find.  Admittedly, I’m a bit of newbie to The Purge Universe. I saw the first movie after catching Anarchy at our local budget theater, caught Election Year it’s first week of release, then saw The First Purge at the budget last week before watching “What Is America?”.

As a relative newcomer to the intricacies of this world, I’m impressed at the flexibility of the structure James DeMonaco, writer of all four movies and director the first three, has built into the story. The dystopia of The Purge has enough “give” in it’s basic structure to make the world expansion seem organic. Once you accept the premise, it’s as believable as the setup of similar genre films like Soylent Green, Logan’s Run, and Death Race 2000.

The Purge S1 E1 Miguel
“We Stand On the Shoulders of Giants” in the NFFA’s America.

Now, on to the All American Carnage of “What is America?”

The Setup

*Per Jason Blum, The Purge series will examine “What happens the other 364 days of the year and how the law affects people.” “What Is America?” follows three storylines as Purge Night begins.

*Miquel (Gabriel Chavarra) & Penelope Guerrero (Jessica Garza) – Former Marine Miguel searches for his sister Penelope through the chaos of Purge Night. Will he find her before she becomes the next sacrifice of a cult devoted to providing willing Purge victims? Will Penelope wake up to the reality of The Purge and try and escape before she is chosen by Good Leader Tavis (Fiona Dourif) as the next offering?

* Jenna (Hannah Anderson) & Rick Betancourt (Colin Woodell) Invited to a Purge Night gala at the home of NFFA power couple Albert Stanton (Reed Diamond)and his wife Ellie (Andrea Frankle), Jenna and Rick hope to “use the Devil’s money” for the greater good. Their very intimate connection to the Stanton’s daughter Lila (Lili Simmons), and the “serial killer” party theme may unravel their plans.

*Jane Barbour (Amanda Warren) – Arrives at Ryker Moore Equity ready to guide her team in negotiating (and completing for a hefty bonus) a major international deal. Just before Purge Night begins, Jane slips away from the safety of the 38th floor – and the long-distance electronic eye of her boss David Ryker (William Baldwin). In a parking garage sub-basement, we find out why she’s been so jumpy all evening as Jane  hands over payment to hired killer Chaka (AzMarie Livingston) for a Purge Night hit.

The Purge S1 E1 Penelope and Good Leader Tavis
Purge Death Cult perks includes matching robes & hair braiding!

The History 

*When is The Purge series set? Creator/Executive Producer/Writer  James DeMonaco told Vulture, “The TV show takes place between the first Purge and the last movie. We’re kind of right in the middle of all the Purge timelines, so it’s before Charlie Roan … if 20 Purges have taken place, or 15, we’re probably on the seventh or eighth in the TV show.”

*According to ScreenRant’s very helpful timeline, the New Founding Fathers of America attain power in 2014 and the first Purge takes place in 2017. Based on DeMonaco’s comment, that sets The Purge series in 2024/2025.

*By the time of the first movie, Purge Night has become the NFFA’s version of the Military-Industrial Complex Eisenhower warned us about. As ScreenRant puts it,  “the event has become an accepted holiday, with much of the US infrastructure rebuilt to account for it: insurance, security and, yes, plotted murder.”

*Of course, we already know the entire premise of The Purge is a lie. Officially, The Purge exists “to push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year.” From The Purge: Anarchy onwards, viewers know The Purge exists to keep the NFFA elite loyal to the regime (through a Heaven’s Gate cult-like belief of The Purge as a tenant of faith and loyalty), to cull the population of those the NFFA views as a drain on society, and as noted above, to drive the US economy.

*The Purge can also be seen as an extension of the struggle between the 1% and the 99% that takes economic inequality to a nightmarish, grindhouse conclusion.

*You have to stay for the credits sequence in The First Purge (or visit the Purge TV section of the series website) to see it, but there is a nice reference a classic Political Science theory – “You pay taxes. You obey the law. That is the social contract you follow.”

The Purge S1 E1 Rick and Jenna
For Jane and Rick, fake smiles hide real anxiety.

Notes on “What Is America?”

*The first episode lets me know where it starts on a micro level –  “5:23 97 minutes before The Purge”. I had find out from Screen Rant and Vulture when exactly the series is set in terms of what year. Some kind of establishing info would be helpful

* The ride share business has adapted to the new order with “Purge Surge” pricing.

* As Miguel drives to find his sister, a McDonalds billboard lets us know the Golden Arches exist in this dystopia.

*There’s an app for that – even if “that” is following the progress of your Purge Night hired assassin.

*Good to see Jane thinking ahead and putting on some practical shoes at work. She’ll need them after Purge Night starts.

*I wonder if the rivalry between Jane’s underlings will devolve into a Belko Experiment-esque bloodbath?

*Does Purge Night start in stages, based on time zones? It seems like a national event in the movies. Did the NFFA got rid of time zones?

*Rick hopes mentions to Jenna that “Billy Sabien” secured a deal with Stanton. Could Billy be related to Chief of Staff Arlo Sabien (Patch Darragh) from The First Purge?

*From delicious macaroons to expensive floral displays, we see the NFFA power color – powder blue – throughout the Stanton mansion. Though from Ancient Egyptians to Buddhists, it is the lotus flower, not blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) blooms, that serve as the symbol of rebirth.

*The serial killers/notorious murders chosen as masks is intriguing, speculating on why they were chosen (besides recognizability to the average viewer). Only three of of them are on this list of notorious serial killers. Jeffrey Dahmer, Lizzie Borden, David Berkowitz, Susan Atkins, the Zodiac Killer, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy.

*Jenna and Rick try to convince themselves that their “deal with the devil” serves a higher purpose. Throughout the episode, they try to convince themselves (and us, and their rideshare driver) they aren’t part of the system. Yet as we find out at the end, they are literally in bed with it. Like the venial heirs in The Twilight Zone episode The Masks, are they putting on masks to blend in, or reveal their true selves?

*The Stanton mansion is a modern day version Prince Prospero’s castle impregnable castle in The Masque of the Red Death. Prospero’s fortress turned out to be very easy for the pestilence to enter; I suspect the Stanton lockdown will prove to be equally inept at keeping the world at bay.

The Purge - Season 1
Lila certainly knows how to make an entrance.

Next week, Episode Two advises to “Take What’s Yours”.

Until then,  “Just remember all the good The Purge does.”

The Purge airs Tuesdays on USA at 10/9c.

More official images, information, and other goodies can be found here.

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